Gatwick Airport aims to rival Heathrow after signing Air China deal
Air China is the latest long-haul carrier to sign up to Gatwick, which is trying to build a reputation as an alternative gateway between the UK and emerging markets. Air China will operate 4 direct flights a week between Gatwick and Beijing. [Heathrow has perhaps 90 flights to China per week, and Gatwick will have 4. So it has a long way to catch up …] A Gatwick spokesman said Gatwick could serve London “just as effectively” as Heathrow, where take-off and landing slots are in short supply. Gatwick has “the capacity to grow to serve 40m passengers by 2020 but also has the ability to serve London just as effectively as Heathrow – and do so for less than half the cost.” Gatwick has lower landing fees than Heathrow (in 2009 they were up to £12.80 per passenger at Heathrow, and £6.79 per passenger at Gatwick. Bit higher now).
Gatwick Airport has laid bare its ambition to rival Heathrow after announcing it had struck a deal with Air China over direct flights to Beijing.
By Nathalie Thomas
Air China is the latest long-haul carrier to sign up to Gatwick, which is trying to build a reputation as an alternative gateway between the UK and emerging markets.
The airport has started flexing its muscles as Heathrow’s owner BAA battles with the Government over building a third runway.
Air China, a national flag carrier, will operate four direct flights a week between Gatwick and Beijing.
Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer at Gatwick, said the airport – the UK’s second largest – could serve London “just as effectively” as Heathrow, where take-off and landing slots are in short supply.
“Gatwick not only has the capacity to grow to serve 40m passengers by 2020 [it had around 33,645,200 in 2011] but also has the ability to serve London just as effectively as Heathrow – and do so for less than half the cost,” Mr Stephenson said.
“This, in turn, is helping strengthen Britain’s connectivity into the rapidly growing economies of the world, such as China.
“Air China’s decision to expand this route from Gatwick sends a strong message that Gatwick is competing.”
Gatwick claims it offers much lower landing fees than Heathrow
Birmingham sets sights on China flights
April 28, 2012 Paul Kehoe, the CEO of Birmingham airport, is planning to start direct flights to China as an alternative to services from the south-east. He visited the Chinese city of Chengdu for the Routes Asia aviation conference last week and met with airlines to discuss possible direct flights between Birmingham and China. Birmingham is hoping to attract long-haul services from the airport once its runway extension is completed in 2014, and said feedback from the airlines had been positive. Kehoe says direct China flights from Birmingham will bring investment to the region, and giving airlines and passengers an alternative to battling with London’s congestion problems. Click here to view full story…
Kehoe says BAA claims are a con, and Chinese companies are happy to fly to Birmingham, by-passing Heathrow
April 22, 2012 We have heard many aviation lobbyists claiming that if business people cannot get direct flights from Heathrow to a multitude of destinations, Britain’s economy is doomed. Now Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham airport, publicly disagrees, wanting to persuade those in power that flights to or from Birmingham will be quite acceptable to commerce, and can bypass Heathrow. And Birmingham gets the profit. He says BAA is “trying to conflate the wider British economic interest with the interests of Heathrow”. Kehoe says the claims that Britain’s economy requires new runways in the south-east are a “con” that an industry dominated by BAA will not question. Click here to view full story…
Heathrow welcomes China’s largest airline, and a new trade route to Guangzhou
March 18, 2012 China Southern, the largest Chinese airline, has now been able to get take off and landing slots at Heathrow for 3 flights a week to Guangzhou. This is the first direct flight to Guanzhou from the UK, though there are many other flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, from where connecting flights can be made to all the regional Chinese cities. BAA complains that it is limited in how many flights it can provide to China, that its European rivals have more, and that they have more direct routes. BAA says Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam airports will boast direct flights to Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xiamen, Nanjing, Shenyang and Qingdao this year. However, Heathrow manages around 21 flights per day to Miami, and large numbers to other non-business but profitable routes. Click here to view full story…
Number of passengers to China from Heathrow and its rivals
The data below show that there are many more passengers flying to China from Heathrow, (considering Hong Kong as China) in years for which data can be found. Though Heathrow may lack a few direct flights to a couple of regional airports in China, it appears to have more passengers travelling to and from China than Frankfurt, or Paris, or Schiphol. Figures below are for Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong (not other regionals).
About 1,113,000 passengers for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
About 757,100 passengers for Frankfurt Airport. (2010)
About 1,061,500 passengers for Schiphol (2009)
And 2,074,826 passengers to China including Hong Kong in 2011 for Heathrow.
And 1,993,593 passengers to China including Hong Kong in 2010 for Heathrow. And2,065,130 passengers in 2009.
|Paris CDG ? 2010? 2011?||?||512,000||601,000||1,113,000|
“International Air Connectivity for Business”
How well connected are UK airports to the world’s main business destinations?
Report by WWF and AirportWatch August 2011
This shows that the number of weekly departures, during one week in July 2011, were as follows:
|From||Frankfurt||Paris CDG||Amsterdam Schiphol||Heathrow|
|and there is more detail in the report|
|Total to 27 top business cities||450||484||282||990|
CAA international passenger figures for 2011
International Air Passenger Traffic To and From Reporting Airports for 2011
Comparison with the Previous Year
2009: BAA will be able to charge £12.80 per passenger at Heathrow, and £6.79 per passenger at Gatwick. link
With demand for air travel set to increase, we need to make the most efficient use of our single runway and existing infrastructure. In setting the airport charges at Gatwick for the next year, we have only increased the aircraft landing fees during the busy summer period when travel demand is at its highest and capacity at the airport at its most restricted. We have removed landing fees at Gatwick during the quieter winter period to encourage greater all year round use. Gatwick continues to charge lower landing fees for smaller, quieter, less polluting aircraft, such as used on regional services.
(Stewart Wingate, March 2011 link )